The Development of War Encampments and Fortifications…

When the different parties arrived at the place of rendezvous, the chief of the division or district, with some of inferior rank, waited on the king or commanding chief, and reported the number of warriors they had brought. They then selected a spot for their encampment, and erected their Hare-pai or Auoro, in which they abode till the army was collected. The former were Small huts, built with cocoa-nut leaves, or boughs and green ti leaves, which each party or family erected for their own accommodation, around that of their chief; and thus formed a small encampment by themselves. The latter was a large open building, constructed with the same materials, in which the chief and his warriors all dwelt together. Their camp was near an open space, and they generally selected the most broken and uneven ground, frequently rugged tracts of lava, as their fields of battle. Sometimes they encamped on the banks of a river, or deep ravine, which lying between them and their enemies, secured them from sudden attack. But they do not appear to have thrown up lines or other artificial barriers around their camp; they did not, however, neglect to station piquets at all the passes by which they were likely to be approached. Each party usually had a pari or pa-kaua, natural or artificial fortress, where they left their wives and children, and to which they fled if vanquished in the field. These fortresses were either eminences of difficult ascent, and, by walling up the avenues leading to them, sometimes rendered inaccessible; or they were extensive enclosures, including a cave, or spring, or other natural means of sustenance or security. The stone walls around the forts were composed of large blocks of lava, laid up solid, but without cement, sometimes eighteen feet high, and nearly twenty feet thick. On the tops of these walls the warriors fought with slings and stones, or with spears and clubs repelled their assailants. When their pari was an eminence, after they had closed the avenues, they collected large stones and fragments of rock on the edges of the precipices overhanging the paths leading to the fortification, which they rolled down on the heads of their enemies. Sometimes they engaged in fleets amounting to upwards of one hundred canoes on each side. At a distance they fought with slings and stones, and other missiles, and, at close quarters, with club and spear. Their fleets were not lashed together like those of the Society islanders. (Ellis)

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 (These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)


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